If you’re the parent of a child taking the 11 plus exam, you may have received a lot of questions recently. Aside from your child asking for another serving of ice cream or another hour in front of the TV, they will hopefully have asked some questions about the exam.
They may have asked for more information on the 11 plus exam - and how they prepare for it best. Answering the latter question may be tricky, which is why we have put together a list of ways they can prepare for the exam, so you know how to help.
11 Preparation Tips for the 11 Plus Exam
These are not all the ways you can prepare for the test, but they are certainly some of the best…
1. Target the Right Grammar Schools
Not every grammar school in one county will have the same pass mark. At the same time, not all Grammar Schools will operate in the same way or offer the same subjects. For these reasons, one of the first things you need to do as parent and child is to discuss the Grammar School which is best for you.
Some parent-child teams may need to have an open and honest discussion about the chances of passing the exams in order to identify the “easier” Grammar Schools to be accepted in. Don’t shy away from this discussion as it could completely change the final outcome.
2. Make A Personal Study Space
There is a growing body of research looking into physical surroundings and how we think and work. The research to date has suggested that brighter areas with plants, light and windows can harness creativity.
This information can be used to make the optimum study space which helps students think creatively. We don’t expect you to hire architects and builder’s round to create this perfect space but you may want to set up a desk near windows and add a plant or two to the desk. There is even an argument that higher ceilings help us think clearer, which is something to bear in mind.
When creating this space, do it together so the learning process can start as you intend it to - as a team. Make sure you allow your child to help organise the space and their very own desk.
3. Create a Study Schedule
Now the blueprint is in place and the hub of additional learning has been created, you need to design a schedule. Each child will need a bespoke schedule which works around their other activities. Try to space out additional study from their swimming classes or football club to make sure they study without being overly tired.
Research has also proven that studying different topics continually is more beneficial than studying them separately one after the other. What this means for your study schedule is that most students will benefit more from studying all four subjects of the 11 plus exam together rather than studying them one after the other.
4. Start Early
The same study mentioned above found that cramming is extremely ineffective. This highlights the need for children to start studying for the 11 plus exams as early as possible. Most children benefit from starting their extra study at the start of the penultimate primary school year. However, it is not unheard of that those who study later also pass and get into a Grammar School.
5. Read up On Studying Tips
There are lots of study tips out there. To save you the time, you can read up on our favourite and proven study methods here.
6. Start Reading Other Books (Especially Boys!)
There is no hiding from the fact that girls outperform boys when it comes to reading and this often has an impact on boys writing ability. This is detrimental to their 11 plus performance because mastery of English and a wide range of vocabulary is required in order to score well.
Parents of boys may want to start introducing them to reading and the joys a book can bring. Instead of giving them another textbook to read, give them a book on topics they love such as sport and adventure.
Science has also suggested exercise is good for cognition. It is best to use exercise as a way to break up study sessions. This should be factored into the schedule you create. For example, if your child has a swimming class on Tuesdays then Mondays and Wednesdays may be the best days for evening study sessions.
8. Sleep and Eat Well
You’ve heard it before, but remember, healthy meals and quality sleep is fantastic for cognitive performance. Make sure breakfast is always on the menu before school each day!
9. Use Specific 11 Plus Materials
Would you prepare for a piano exam by playing the guitar? We thought not and that’s exactly why your child needs specific 11 plus preparation covering the same topics.
Preparation can be obtained with the help of a private 11 plus tutor. However, these can be a logistical headache for busy parents. A more flexible and affordable option is an online 11 plus course, provided by an experienced and reliable provider like 11 Plus Success.
10. Limit Distractions and Technology
Some kids are better with technology than the big kids. If this rings a bell, make sure your child is not overusing technology for the wrong reasons. Although the latest research does not suggest a set number of hours each week, it does suggest limiting usage and making sure it’s being used for beneficial purposes - somewhat like a healthy digital dinner!
11. Remember It’s Not Everything
Lastly, but maybe the most important thing to do during 11 plus Grammar School preparations is to let your child know that the 11 plus test is not the most important thing in the world. Yes, you want to get into a Grammar School but thousands of children have not made the cut and have gone on to University and successful careers which they love. Let your child know this repeatedly in order to ease the pressure!
Good Luck to Your Child from Us!
11 Plus Success understands the journey your family is going through and wishes you the best of luck with the exam. We can offer even more than luck and many savvy parents have already found out about our online 11 plus course. To find out more details, do not hesitate to get in touch!